Ernest Hemingway called retirement the ugliest word in the English language, according to R. William Taylor, CAE , "and I agree with him." Taylor spoke at the August annual meeting of the American Society of Association Executives, held at the Opryland Hotel Convention Center in Nashville. Taylor, who retired after 17 years as ASAE's president and CEO, was visibly moved when past ASAE chairpersons lined up on stage to pay him tribute. He noted that he was particularly proud of how female membership in ASAE had increased during his tenure at the association. As for the future, "Technology is the greatest challenge we have," he said. "You must change information into knowledge. I leave you with that challenge."
Taylor is avoiding that ugly 'R' word by forming Bill Taylor, Association Consulting, a company that will conduct studies on association management. ASAE's new president, Michael S. Olson, CAE, officially started his presidency during the conference. A 30-year industry veteran who had been president and CEO of Olson Management Inc., an association management firm in Raleigh, N.C., Olson also served as ASAE chairman of the board during the 1985 to 1986 term.
Another leader who continues to serve after retirement--General Colin L. Powell--gave a moving and humorous keynote during the opening general session. Now serving as chair of America's Promise, an organization dedicated to providing children with health care, adult mentors, and other resources, Powell said, "We can't go forward as a nation and leave any child behind." Powell urged attendees to get involved in "Job Shadowing Day," where adults bring underprivileged children to work, introducing them to career possibilities. ASAE has pledged its involvement.
Nashville may be the smallest city in which ASAE has ever met, but it provided entertainment on a grand scale. The welcome reception at the Opryland Hotel Convention Center featured fireworks, a laser light show, and a high-wire act.